The Everyday Muslim Symposium

Welcome to my first blog post of 2015! It’s good to be back and blogging away once more. January has been quite an interesting month for me, and I am here to write about a wonderful event I was part of last weekend.

My mother, Shahida Rahman, was invited to speak at the Everyday Muslim Symposium, held at the Bishopsgate Institute in London. In an evening of exploration into the realms of British Muslim Heritage, she talked about the history of Lascars. A Lascar was a sailor/militiaman from the Indian Subcontinent or other countries east of the Cape of Good Hope, employed on European ships from the 16th century until the middle of the 20th century. I was up next to read a short excerpt from my mother’s novel “Lascar”.

I was followed by some amazing spoken word performances from Tasmia Salim, Amaal Said and Mizan the Poet.

Tasmia Salim is currently finishing her studies at university. Her writing and performances are concerned with the oral traditions rooted in her culture and how personal narratives and histories are passed down between generations.

Amaal Said is a member of the Barbican Young Poets and Burn After Reading collectives. Her work explores the idea of home, identity and what war has meant for her family, among other things. Amaal is currently working on her first poetry collection.

Mizan the Poet (Mizan Rahman) is a spoken word artist whose brand of poetry is inspired by politics and real life experiences.

It was a fabulous event and I would like to thank Halima Khanom and Sadiya Ahmed for giving me the opportunity. I have found that it is a real challenge for some people’s voices to be heard, but that is only part of the battle. The next challenge is to be acknowledged. Everyone who performed had something valuable to share and it is really important that we are given that platform to express ourselves. You just have to keep persevering. Continue to work hard.

Keep on striving.

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